SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Regardless of the sport, offense generally isn’t at a premium in an all-star game.
That applies to the North-South All-Star Basketball Classic as well, but even for its standard, the latest version Friday at the South Charleston Community Center featured an abundance of offense.
Behind a combined 78 points from three guards, the South held off the North for a 126-122 victory that marked the second-highest scoring edition of the all-star affair that has been played annually since 1983 with the exception of in 2020. Only the 2019 matchup (a 171-141 North win) featured more scoring.
Teays Valley Christian guard Josiah Davis, a West Virginia University signee, was named most valuable player of the winning team after scoring 25 points on 11-of-22 shooting in a performance that included several highlight-worthy dunks from the 6-foot-3 guard.
“Being able to come out here and play with a bunch of great athletes throughout the state, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Davis said. “That’s something you don’t take for granted, and I’ll forever be thankful for this experience.”
Yet for the major impact Davis played in the outcome, he didn’t finish as his team’s or the game’s leading scorer. Instead, that title was held by Cabell Midland guard Chandler Schmidt.
Schmidt, who was named Mountain State Athletic Conference Player of the Year a few months back, poured in 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting and made 7-of-9 free throws. The Navy-bound guard came up big throughout, using a mixture of strength and quickness to get to his spots, while still being able to do damage from deep with three 3-pointers.
“It’s a great experience for everyone to play against the best players in the state,” Schmidt said. “You don’t want to just play against the same people over and over again. you want to play against the best players and competition.”
The South also got a strong showing from Herbert Hoover’s Devin Hatfield, who was as efficient as any player in the contest. Hatfield had a strong second half that allowed him to finish with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting, with a team-best four triples of the 14 the South made.
The South led for the majority of the game, including 58-53 at half.
“Being able to jell together in such a fast amount of time was key,” Davis said. “In timeouts, there was no arguing. It was all constructive criticism. We all took it as one and that’s the best part of a team — being able to take constructive criticism and move forward with whatever it is that you heard.”
Although the North got off to a strong start in the second of two 20-minute halves, the South was in front the entire way down the stretch, including a 113-101 advantage before the North closed on a high note.
Notre Dame guard Jaidyn West scored 10 first-half points and 15 more in the second half to lead the North with 25 and garner his team’s MVP. West led all players with five 3-pointers and grew more comfortable as the game progressed while making 10-of-20 field-goal attempts.
“It was really fun. Meeting a bunch of new guys, seeing some familiar faces I’ve played against, and it’s cool to play alongside them, because they’re all really good talents,” West said. “The South team was also really good, so it was a really fun competition. We come up short by four points. If we make a couple more shots in the first half, we probably win.”
West was followed in scoring by Parkersburg South’s Ashton Mooney, who did the bulk of his damage after halftime en route to scoring 16. Grafton guard Ryan Maier had a strong showing, scoring 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, as did Webster County’s Rye Gadd, who finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting in defeat.
Wheeling Central’s Ryan Reasbeck scored 10 to give the North a fifth double-figure scorer.
Though Schmidt, Davis and Hatfield did the bulk of the damage, the South had four other-double figure scorers: George Washington’s Zane McCarty (13), Nitro’s Kolton Painter (10), Wyoming East’s Tanner Whitten (10) and James Monroe’s Shad Sauvage (10).
“We talked to each other the whole game,” Schmidt said. “You have to talk to each other. If you don’t communicate on the court, you’re not going to get anywhere. That’s the most important thing in basketball. If you don’t communicate, you’re more than likely not going to win that many games. We communicated and played really well together. That’s why we won the game.”